14
Jul

Stevia and children

As we all know very well, hardly any kid grows up without sweets because children love sweetness. But foods and drinks containing sugar should be eaten in moderation since they may lead to tooth decay and increased body weight, neither of which are good for your children’s health.

Healthy sugar alternative for children

The natural sweetener from the stevia plant contributes no calories, does not influence metabolism and protects your teeth. As stevia leaf extract is up to 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, small amounts of stevia leaf extract are sufficient for satisfying your children’s desire for sweet tasting goods.

Stevia leaf extracts for kids

Stevia leaf extracts are a proven safe sweetener, and have been granted regulatory approval by international food regulatory bodies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the European Union and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. All relevant research studies on the safety of stevia leaf extracts have been thoroughly reviewed by expert scientists. Although stevia leaf extract is harmless, you should nonetheless pay attention to the amount consumed by your children, just like with other foods.

Recommended maximum daily intake

Stevia leaf extracts are a mixture of sweetening compounds called steviol glycosides. In order to establish an acceptable daily intake for the mixture, safety studies calculate intake based on the common feature in the steviol glycosides – the steviol backbone. Therefore, the acceptable daily intake for stevia leaf extracts has been established and adopted by globally recognized safety studies as 4 mg per kg of body weight expressed in steviol equivalents.

When you feed your children meals that are sweetened with stevia leaf extracts, you should bear in mind that the use of stevia in the product is not always immediately apparent. Stevia may be contained in prepared foods and beverages like soft drinks, dairy products, confectionary, or ice cream. To keep track of how much stevia your child actually has per day, you should check the food packaging carefully.

In the European Union, you can rely on the stevia leaf extract labeled “E 960” or “steviol glycosides” (which is the scientific name of the sweet compounds found in the leaves of the stevia plant).

The common labelling terms are “stevia leaf extrac”, “stevia extract”, “Rebaudioside A” (which is one of the steviol glycosides), “Reb A” (the short name for Rebaudioside A) and “stevia leaf extracts”.

References

International Stevia Council

Disclaimer

Onder Food does not offer personal health or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. No content (any medical information) on this site is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.